‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’: In Honor, or Dishonor?

The Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala held for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It’s widely known as world’s most prestigious fashion event, and is run by the Magazine Vogue.
The event is held annually on the first Monday of May, which was May 3rd this year. It marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. This year’s exhibition is called ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’, and focuses on the work of the late Karl Lagerfeld.
This year’s exhibition in honor of the late Karl Lagerfeld, a German fashion designer who died in 2019. Karl Lagerfeld worked for many top fashion houses throughout his career such as Fendi and Balmain, and most notably, as creative director of Chanel.
Lagerfeld became the creative director of Chanel in 1983, and was so until his death. His work as the creative director is often credited as instrumental in the revitalization of the Chanel brand, which allowed it to become one of the top fashion houses once again.
For Lagerfeld, less was more, and many of his designs reflected this. His designs were always elegantly simple and very rarely had fine details, but often had texture. Lagerfeld’s most iconic designs were black and white; tweed and pearls were often staples as well. This explains many of the black and white, tweed and pearl looks of the night.
Easily one of the most on-theme looks of the night was by none other than first-time Met Gala attendee Jennie Kim, a South Korean singer known best as a member of K-pop girl group BLACKPINK. Kim is also one of Lagerfeld’s last handpicked muses for the house of Chanel, so her presence makes complete sense.
The Chanel team made a revised design of look 164 from Lagerfeld’s fall 1990 ready-to-wear collection for Kim; a simple white satin dress adorned with the camelia flower. The simple elegance of her outfit truly embodied the essence of Lagerfeld’s most iconic designs.
While Lagerfeld was an incredibly influential force in fashion, he also has a legacy of controversial and intolerant statements. Most recently he repudiated the #MeToo movement in an interview with French magazine Numéro, stating: “If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model. Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent.”
On account of this, there were many celebrities who did not resonate with the theme. Instead of perhaps outright denying their invite to the event, they decided to wear outfits and designs that were intentionally off-theme as a statement.
For example according to fashion writer Patrick Mauriès wrote in his book, ‘The World According to Karl’, Lagerfeld once said: “Think pink. But don’t wear it.” Many celebrities attending the Met Gala decided to wear pink, something Lagerfeld would supposedly dislike.
Standing out for sure was Indigenous model and activist Quannah Chasinghorse, who wore a gorgeous pastel pink Prabal Gurung gown, and was adorned with handmade Dakota jewelry. Chasinghorse’s jewelry was made with porcupine quills, pearls, beads and silver.
There was also.. A third category of design, and it was furry. Lagerfeld had a fluffy white pet cat named Choupette, who is extremely famous and spoiled. To put her wealth in perspective, she has her own private jet.
According to her Instagram she was invited to the Met Gala this year, but decided to stay at home. But that’s okay, because Jared Leto made it feel like she was there by wearing a fursuit of Choupette.
Similarly, Doja Cat also arrived in a feline outfit. The musician was wearing a glittery Oscar de la Renta gown fitted with a She also kept meowing instead of responding to interviewer’s questions. Although, the look wasn’t really complete without the prosthetic cat face.
Overall this year’s Met Gala was pretty great, despite the contention and controversy seeming to surround it and it’s theme. It does beg the question that we keep asking as a society; can one respect and appreciate the art, and separate it from the artist? It’s really up for the public to decide.
The exhibit ‘Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty’ is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.